Monday, October 17, 2005

Silly vs. Serious and White Lies vs. Dignity

Introduction
Today some facts came to my attention. Of course I will not mention details because I am hoping to not make this blog into a work of angst. I also do not want to offend any people directly. The issue I was faced with today razed two very important questions for me, and I am not able to effectively substantiate myself for either side. I can only provide my personal opinion, and if you want to add to it, then please comment. If your comments are well articulated I will add them to this entry. The first issue is what is better being silly or being serious. I am not implying to take the extremes of the spectrum, but rather what is better to be naturally silly with the ability to turn serious or naturally serious with the ability to turn silly. The second issue is distinguishing between white lies and their infringement of dignity. White lies apply to small lies that (to the person making them) seem to not be a big deal and are meant to comfort a person. Dignity or the recognition of it: is the realization that people should be told things upfront instead of beating around the bush or being lied to.

Silly vs. Serious
I find myself to be a rather silly or light-hearted person that can lean towards being serious. How well I am at being serious various depending as to who you ask. Some people think I am very much capable of switching easily to a serious mode when the time is right. Others on the other hand believe I am completely unmannered and have no sense of when fun stops and soberness should begin. I like to believe I am the first, but since the ladder exists, that is impossible. However, I also doubt I am the second extreme of the spectrum. Most likely I am somewhere in-between, or my change to seriousness is drastically different with different people. I can not be an accurate judge of such a matter; however I can defiantly say I am silly first. This bend towards lightheartedness makes me naturally biased toward the silly side and I will need all the help I can get to raise points for the serious side of the issue.
Silly:
Two days ago I was discussing movie selections with my dad and wondering what kind of movie he wants me to go rent. He said he would prefer a comedy and substantiated it with word that (roughly translated from Russian) shape the main case for vivacity very well:

“I would much rather laugh, than cry at a movie. I don’t understand all the people that pay money just to go and have a cry. Why would I want to be sad when I can laugh? Drama’s are always good, but they are nothing compared to some lighthearted comedy”

Being silly is essential to happiness, and happiness is essential to a fulfilling life. It is important to have the skill to be serious in urgent situations, but being exuberant at all the other times is essential. There is no meaning in all the things seriousness can achieve if you can not be happy about it. Being serious most of the time does allow you to be silly sometimes. All that means is that you can achieve more in your life and then enjoy it less.
Serious
Like I mentioned earlier I have a preformed biased against being predominantly serious. I understand that being serious makes it much easier to concentrate at the task at hand. The next step to that is that you can accomplish more than a silly person in the same amount of time. This could leave you more leisure time to enjoy what you worked towards, but I do not think that case is always true. I think the whole debate comes down to which is more important; what you have or how you use it. To dumb it down (and make much more sexual): “is it the size, or how you use it?” Of course it is easy to say that what you achieved is more important, but you need to remember that all men end six feet below the ground. Of course you can say that being silly is selfish that you only make yourself happy, while if you were serious you could leave more to your children and make their lives better.

White Lies vs. Dignity
As a person, I try my best to give everyone dignity and avoid white lies as much as possible. If you ask me something like “do I look fat in this dress” and you actually look fat I will state it. I do this for two reasons. One is to because I prefer to not have people blind me with their blind eyes and hence I try not to do the same to them. The second is because I am a very blunt person. I believe bluntness and frequent justified criticism is the only way to bring meaning to my praise. In my opinion praise is nearly worthless from someone who praises everybody. As you can see, I am very much biased towards the dignity side. I do not believe in lying to people just because I think it will not harm them and it will just make them feel better. Of course there are always exceptions in my mind, but that is my general ideal and way of displaying my bias on this issue.
White lies
The benefit of white lies is that they can be used to make people feel better or to avoid hurting them. However, in the end they are still lies, just not serious ones. I understand the benefit of giving people compliments through white lies or avoiding hurting them, but I think those only provide surface happiness.
Dignity
Treating people with dignity I think is essential. You have to avoid using white lies at all costs, because I think being direct and upfront is more rewarding in the end. You do not have to be extremely blunt but direction is essential. It will not give people a quick fix of happiness like white lies could, but I think in the long run treating people with dignity and being upfront is more rewarding. Plus, I find that a friend that can be completely honest with you is a much better friend then one that says lies as compliments.

Conclusion
As I outlined, I am a silly person that tries to treat people with blunt dignity. I believe the debate between silly and serious is not resolved in my mind. Even with my silly bias I can see a lot merit in both arguments. My arguments for white lies are fewer and in that case I think dignity wins. I will be happy to reevaluate my decision as time passes. I will update this post with any significant comments and maybe eventually write a follow with better formed opinions.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Ben Anderman said...

I would say Silly vs. Serious is a silly question - it seems obvious to me that "the right balance" is the right answer. Otherwise the question is more, "is it worse to go too far this way, or too far that way?"

White Lies vs. "Dignity" (I prefer to say honesty) is a different matter though. I agree with you on this one, and I try to be as honest as possible too. However, since most people know when people are "just saying" something, I think there isn't much of a difference, if the person knows you. As in, when a "white lies" person really wants to compliment someone, you can tell because they say it much more excitedly (that's not really the word I was looking for, but couldn't think of a better one,) and usually it's a much more substatial compliment. However, I still agree with you, because it's a lot more clear to be honest, which results in less miscommunication (and everyone knows how many problems can come out of miscommunication.)

4:19 PM  

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